Tag Archives: Melissa Fung

All Is Quiet On The Western Front: Media Blackouts vs. Public Awareness

30 Nov

Just wrote this as a paper, but it’s something we can talk about here as well. Where do you stand in terms of media blackouts?


When CBC journalist Melissa Fung was kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2008, news publications in Canada did not publish information about her abduction to ensure her safety. Four weeks after she was captured, she was released. In that same year another Canadian journalist was abducted. Robert Fowler was taken hostage in Niger for 130 days, but in this case, media chose to report on his situation. Fowler believed that the intense media coverage had a serious impact on the length of his time in captivity.

Most news organizations see media blackouts as a slippery slope. If we ban the coverage of journalist kidnappings, isn’t it only fair to ban coverage of non-journalist abductions? What are the limits of public access to sensitive information? Let’s look at both sides of the coin.

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